I used to weigh 460 pounds. Because of that, I have degenerative disease, herniated disks, pinched nerve bundles, arthritis, bad knees, and the list goes on. As a result of these things, I used to be the depression queen. My daily mantra was "I can’t”. The truth is, I felt hopeless in my world of pain and weight issues. I thought nothing could save me. Now I am at a nearly 200 pound weight loss, thanks to SparkPeople and Sparkers like you!
But what about my pain? Is it gone? No, sadly, but it has become much more manageable with a few wonderful techniques I’ve discovered along my journey.
After starting SparkPeople, I fired every doctor I had and got new ones. I explained my needs and desire to get better, but I refused to put up with any form of ridicule. (Example: One doctor grabbed my stomach and called it "This thing.") I needed advice and direction, not judgment. So I found a new doctor who set me up with in-home physical therapy to address my specific needs. Your specific needs may be different, so it is always best to start with a knowledgeable, yet understanding doctor.
From there, I started a plan of action. Many doctors now recommend ways to deal with minor to moderate pain without drugs. Even my severe pain was helped by physical therapy, which I continue to do. I also think of my exercise routine as a form of physical therapy because it allows me to keep moving and keep the pain in check to a degree.
Soon after I began physical therapy, my therapist recommended yoga. I thought she was off her rocker- a 460 pound immobile person doing yoga? Yet, she guided me on my bed on all 4's into the cat/cow position, where you alternate raising and lowering the back. Bingo! She was a genius! We also practiced the cobra and a few mild twists. The combination of physical therapy and yoga did wonders.
I also integrated temperature therapy into my pain management routine. A warming blanket or hot bath in Epsom salts really helped to ease my pain and fibromyalgia. I used cold for numbing or reducing swelling. I was told by my hand specialist to get a paraffin bath to control the arthritis and degenerative pain in my hands. Not only does it help the pain, but it is very moisturizing, too!
Massage is now being covered by many medical insurances. I personally got the most pain relief from a Swedish style because it is gentler than other types of massage. Deeper tissue massages are great for breaking up and moving fluids that could be causing pain, but they can really set off my fibromyalgia.
Another pain control method that is getting plenty of recognition is acupuncture. I've heard fantastic things about acupuncture, although I've never gone under the needle myself. Some scientific studies show that acupuncture may work on pain from migraine headaches to arthritis. The technique involves placing hair-thin needles into pressure points. Stimulation at these points is thought to help the body naturally heal and improve function.
Similar to acupuncture, chiropractic treatment helps create proper alignment at various points of the spine and allows the body to enhance its healing properties. Personally, I have tried this and it has worked for me. The trick is in finding a reputable chiropractor, so be sure and ask a few medical professionals for references.
Many of the pain management techniques mentioned above are now being considered by insurance companies. If you have to self-pay, many times the practitioner might negotiate a better price depending on your situation.
Take your pain day by day and roll with it. Find what works for you in terms of therapy and don't expect to do what you can do on a "Good pain day" on a "Bad pain day." Rank your pain and then match your activity to it. Heal and be gentle. And remember that any movement at all is physical therapy.
More From SparkPeople